The Omega 3 Vs Omega 6 ratio matters.
Synthesis of the longer omega 3 fatty acids from linolenic acid within the body is competitively slowed by omega 6 fatty acids. Thus accumulation of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids in tissues is more effective when they are obtained directly from food or when competing amounts of omega 6 do not greatly exceed the amounts of omega 3.
In children a small amount of omega 3 in the diet (~1% of total calories) enabled normal growth, and increasing the amount had little to no additional effect on growth. Likewise, researchers found that omega 6 fatty acids (such as γ-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid) play a similar role in normal growth. However, they also found that omega 6 was “better” at supporting dermal integrity, renal function, and parturition.
Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are essential. humans must consume them in their diet. Omega 3 and omega 6 compete for the same metabolic enzymes, thus the omega 6:omega 3 ratio will significantly alter the body’s metabolic function. This necessitates that omega 3 and omega 6 be consumed in a balanced proportion.
Healthy ratios of omega 6:omega 3 range from 1:1 to 4:1. Studies suggest that the evolutionary human diet, rich in game animals, seafood and other sources of omega 3, may have provided such a ratio.
Typical Western diets provide ratios of between 10:1 and 30:1 ( i.e. dramatically skewed toward omega 6). Here are the ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in some common oils:
|cottonseed||(almost no omega)|
|grape seed oil||(almost no omega)|
|corn oil||46 to 1|